SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 227: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 227

8. A scientist should not automatically reject folkways that might at first seem silly or superstitious; scientific qualifications are not license for -------, nor do they --------- prejudice or bias.

A. experimentation… eliminate
B. arrogance… pursue
C. humility… advocate
D. smugness… legitimate
E. rigidity… console

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Smugness" means the exhibition of self-righteousness. "Legitimate" means to justify. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A scientist should not automatically reject folkways that might at first seem silly or superstitious; scientific qualifications are not a license for smugness, nor do they legitimate prejudice or bias." The word "nor" links two clauses that express the same point of view about scientific qualifications. The first clause after the semicolon asserts that scientific qualifications do not excuse arrogance, just as they do not legimitate, or justify, prejudice or bias.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Experimentation" means the act of conducting scientific tests. "Eliminate" means to remove or get rid of. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A scientist should not automatically reject folkways that might at first seem silly or superstitious; scientific qualifications are not a license for experimentation, nor do they eliminate prejudice or bias." Experimentation has nothing to do with rejecting folkways or with prejudice, and there is nothing to indicate a relationship between scientific qualifications and the removal of prejudice or bias.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Arrogance" means the state of feeling superior to others. "Pursue" means to follow or to strive for. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A scientist should not automatically reject folkways that might at first seem silly or superstitious; scientific qualifications are not a license for arrogance, nor do they pursue prejudice or bias." It is logical to assert that scientific qualifications are not a license for arrogance, but it does not make sense to say that these qualifications do not pursue prejudice or bias.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Humility" means modesty, and "advocate" means to argue in favor of. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A scientist should not automatically reject folkways that might at first seem silly or superstitious; scientific qualifications are not a license for humility, nor do they advocate prejudice or bias." It would be incorrect to claim that scientific qualifications do not allow scientists to be modest.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Rigidity" means inflexibility, and "console" means to comfort. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A scientist should not automatically reject folkways that might at first seem silly or superstitious; scientific qualifications are not a license for rigidity, nor do they console prejudice or bias. The first part of the clause may be read that scientists should not rigidly reject folkways, but it is illogical to say that scientific qualifications do not comfort prejudice or bias.

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